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Old 12-11-2008, 06:41 AM   #501
Founding Father Coach is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 391
Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit

On the issue of the 500-750 lb deadlift within two years:

I've never 1rm tested anyone brand new to the deadlift. It would be unethical.

I used the number in an off hand way in an interview to suggest a starting point.

I saw a lot of people hit 500+ within two years when the pool of CF'ers was relatively small. As the pool grew the number of folks hitting 500 with no other training was growing rapidly as well.

The 750 figure was a guesstimate based on what looked like, to me, like an approaching assymptote. I did have a CrossFitting client in LA pull 750, Joe Droke. He powerlifted for fun as a kid but had not seen numbers like that or even close. I also do not know if he was clean or not. I still believe it to be the high end figure, but only time will tell. I don't know what the maximum deadlift after two years of training will be or is. I don't even know what the current max is. We'll never know what the max starting deadlift is. The proposition is somewhat untestable.

Ultimately and techically my assertion was more than conjecture. It was a hypothesis stated as fact with zero intent to mislead. I still like the number and if I had to pick the upper range today for two years of CF, 750 would be the number. It's also my high-end for general athletic capacity. In other words 750 lbs, is in my opinion, the last generally useful athletic deadlift.

It's also my opinion that CF develops better physiques than isolation movements without steroids. I spent decades in the epicenter of the bodybuilding world and this is my observation. I've not seen people I know to be clean, doing bodybuilding, develop physiques like the CF'ers or gymnasts. What if I'm wrong? So what? My hope for CF would be that I was wrong. I'd like to get all of what we're getting without additional body mass, but alas, that's not the case. Mass for mass' sake is a detriment to performance. It's that simple.

The stir here, the need to call me a liar, the need to hate CF, and it's attendant need to find something, anything, anything false or even remotely misleading among literally thousands of pages of CF material, comes from those who hate CF. Those haters have a home in ********. I don't believe the ******** crowd really has problems with my statements. I believe their issue is more related to 26 minute Frans and the like. Many, perhaps most, of the regulars at ******** once posted here under real names on the msg boad, and in comments, or worked out at affiliates. All of those that we know to be real people fit that description. One of the powerlifting loudmouths at ******** got bested by a 75 pound lighter Robb Wolf regularly at 1RM lifts and left with his tail tucked to rail against CrossFit at ********, another young man actually posted a 26 minute Fran in comments and is an Icon at ********. It's my presumption that these two individuals are representative of the entire site. Remember, this is a site where graphically imagined depictions of murder of me and my wife were seen as funny (with a Philadelphia PA, assistant DA prosecuting cybercrimes contributing in the same thread), and antisemitism and racism are de rigeur.

I'm not putting you, Brandon, entirely in that camp among our haters. (I'd be surpriesed to find a 26 minute Fran or racism in your makeup.) But, you do hate CF, perhaps without knowing it.

Brandon, you're a different bird. You're a fairly smart kid, but technically limited. You don't understand fitness, nor do you understand physics and mathematics. But more to the point you don't quite yet get CF. Our claim is that work capacity across broad time and modal domains is a better predictor of athletic/physical (take your pick) capacity than any tests of "the 10 general physical skills", cardiorespiratory endurance, stamina, strength, etc, individually, or collectively, and of the common "scientific" or laboratory correlates of performance like LT, V02 max etc., but more importantly it is my contention that work capacity across broad time and modal domains contains ALL of what is worthwhile within those concepts and metrics. How much cardiorespiratory endurance do I want? Only as much as supports the maximum work capacity across broad time and modal domains. How much flexibility do I want? Only as much as supports maximum work capacity across broad time and modal domains. How high a V02 max do I want? Only as much as supports maximum work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

I do not know of a metric whose chief value does not lie in supporting work capacity across broad time and modal domains. Given our commitment to a broad, general, and inclusive fitness, I do not know of a worthwhile correlate with value beyond, or outside, of its contribution to work capacity across broad time and modal domains. This is why and how work capacity has, for us, replaced the other more operational definitions initially offered in "What is Fitness?" It's been a shock to me that you missed this. It was also a shock to me, especially given your interest in philosophy, that you didn't know that all definitions of words are at some point arbitrary. But, I digress.

Here's what is motivating you, Brandon, if I can play armchair psychologist. You love CrossFit and it bothers you to know end that you didn't create CF and have yourself made no contribution to human performace. I know you'd like to. I've watched you trying. You've created a fitness program, eerily similar to CF, you've built a website to support it, and within that website you've laid out your claim to a precise and effective schedule that will develop fitness. You and I are a lot alike in this regard, the chief difference being that your program has not been tested, tried, or noticed, yet you hold CF to standards that your efforts, your program, has clearly and completely avoided.

How do you promote a fitness program with no supporting evidence, not one measurable, observable, repeatable data point, not one visible client or participant, with no supporting metrics or even a definition of what it is that your program does, ie, no definition of fitness, and troll here holding me to standards light years away from your own fitness concept? It renders the invincible ignorance of CF methods or justifications you express here disingenuous. How do our successes in the real world require of us what you cannot oblige for your program? Kid that's a bit sleazy, isn't it? Maybe it's not sleazy, just hypocritical. You make the call. You're the philosophy major. Remember, though, define your terms.

Oh, and one last thing, are you going to send representatives of your fitness program to the CF Games? If so I'll waive their fees, fly them out, and most certainly record their performance. This would be a great way for you to demonstrate the rigors of your program.


There is no diet, no exercise program, no sport training program anywhere founded on or developed on first principles. Exercise science is a myth if seen as other than a nascent science yet to make a significant contribution to human performance. I know of no sport, coaching technique, performance record or notable achievement in human performance derived even in part from scientific work. I say this fully aware of what went on behind the iron curtain. I also believe that the efforts we've undertaken under the rubric of "evidence based fitness" in conjunction with our two and three dimensional model for fitness and health are a significant advance to putting human performance on a scientific footing.

Last edited by Lynne Pitts : 12-11-2008 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Fix cut and paste error.